Data Driven Journalism in Jordan – A reflection by Nadine Nimri



Written by Nadine Nimri, reporter for Al Ghad Daily Newspaper


I clearly remember that phone call from JHR trainer Mohammed Shamma in 2015 when he told me about a data driven journalism training workshop. Back then, I tried to explain to Mohammed that data journalism means nothing to me. I am a human rights journalist, not an economist journalist.


There is a common thought among Jordanian journalists that data is only important for economic journalism. Personally, this thought changed after participating in a five-day workshop. I reached the conclusion that data driven journalism enhances human rights journalism and adds a new dimension in identifying a problem and finding solutions. In less than two years, in collaboration with Jordanian journalists, JHR has published 80 human rights stories in Jordan that were supported by data and infographics, which enhanced the ideas of these reports and stories.


The reports that were published in various media outlets, including online and print, focused on the rights of the most marginalized groups in society including refugees, migrant workers, and individuals with disabilities. These stories brought hope to improve Jordanian journalism, especially throughout the fallback of ethics within some media institutions.  Some of these human rights issues were covered for the first time, as they were previously categorized as forbidden or biased.


Covering these issues has created a positive, friendly competition between committed journalists; rights coverage and audience share has increased, including with decision makers.


I’ve had the privilege of writing four such stories, all of which reported on children’s rights, including the most vulnerable. Two of these stories have received media awards.


The first story, “Abandoned Children and Voiceless Victims”, received the Human Rights Journalism Award that was launched by the Jordan Media Institute and supported by JHR. The second story, a follow-up to the first story, was about abandoned children and a call to action for legislative amendments and received the award of Alhussein for Journalism Excellence as the best investigative report.


It’s been a year and a half of working alongside Journalists for Human Rights, and I sincerely hope to continue this partnership.


Rania Sarayreh, a journalist working at Al Ghad and trained by JHR, also won the Alhussein award for her JHR-mentored story “Right for maternal leave for female employees having gone through a miscarriage”. Both Nadine and Rania were mentored by JHR trainer Mohammed Shamma to produce these award-winning stories.


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